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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So this is my 17hh 3 year old thoroughbred.

I haven't owned him long. Not even a month yet. I know that excess weight is bad for growing bones and leads to OCD lesions and epiphysitis. I DO NOT want to make him fat. I want him healthy lean, like a young horse should be.

But.

I've had several people comment that he's still too lean.

So where exactly is the line?

Edit: the day I bought him -> today
 

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Horses that are growing upwards are not so easy to keep weight on.

He could do with quite a bit more weight on, I like to see them with their ribs well covered at that age and along their back well covered.
 

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Maybe it's my stock horse upbringing, but ... to me that's not excessively butt high. I've seen horses with close to two hands' difference between the front and back ends - although the more extreme cases have always been horses that eventually matured slightly butt high. This one's a couple inches, max.

I also think he's a tad on the thin side, but I've also had a few that I just couldn't keep weight on for a few months at a time during different phases. Thunder the Shire looked like a rescue case for a month at a time on three separate occasions growing up despite being on good quality hay and feed. They all resolved themselves after the growing evened out a bit.

-- Kai
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
^ don't measure a Thoroughbred's butt-high-ness or lack thereof based on the highest point of the wither, or any horse's butt-high-ness for that matter, because the height of the wither will then determine the overall balance of the horse to your eye, and that means a horse with a 5 inch wither might look level but actually be 5 inches butt high
 

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Really? I've always heard it 'measured' as a line drawn from wither to croup ... what do you base it off of then? The angle of the back? Perhaps it's different with stock horses since they generally don't have much of a wither anyway? Curious.

-- Kai
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Overall balance of butt to shoulder, I guess because TBs very often have high withers. The wither is an important muscle attachment for the muscles that move the shoulder, which I guess is why TBs are known for long, high withers? The height itself is less of a factor than the length, but a long laid back wither can be an indication that a horse will be a good galloper, if it's combined with the right traits overall.

Cayde, fwiw, is not a good galloper :lol: but he doesn't have the conformation of a galloper
 

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Personally, I think your horse is fine for weight.
All the markers of evaluation are covered correctly.
Shoulder point, spine, neck/head junction, SI joint, hip point, buttock top and back....
He is not bone jutting out anyplace.
He is pleasingly rounded and no spinal processes are seen and obviously in a growth spurt.
Flanks are nearly flat, not deeply concave and please don't ever do convex in appearance with him... :frown_color:
He has muscle delineation seen in butt and shoulder not waddling fat rolls..
He blends together softly.
When he moves you see a slight ripple of rib which is what you want to see, especially on a Thoroughbred.
A young, growing, active animal is going to look like this guy...a bit gangly, a bit out of balance but healthy.
I would far rather see a horse appear as this one does, regardless of breed, than with extra weight on the frame which is so unhealthy for the inner organs, forget joints and support structures.
I would not want to see him thinner, no...but as he is he is fine and healthy.
Don't make him look like a young halter horse readying for the show ring as so many think is healthy and the way to go...its not either.
A ripple of rib on a growing body...more than acceptable.
:runninghorse2:..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The problem with asking advice from a lot of different horse people: you will ALWAYS get conflicting answers.

I've just started gently lunging him over poles to try to build some topline. He doesn't exercise himself. Given the option, he'd stand with his teeth on a post just cribbing all day. With his collar on, he occasionally gives it a halfhearted try, but can't actually do it... but he still just sort of wanders around grazing, he doesn't play or run or anything.
 

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The weight is fine but he is under muscled making him look a little underweight. He also has a very long back and weak top line. He is young and still growing so all of these things will change in time (except the length of his back)
 

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If he were my horse, he would have extra weight on him. I do not want to see ribs showing or a neck that appears upside down from lack of groceries. He appears to be slowly starving.

A horse is an animal of beauty and strength. I do know that people obsess about being so thin, but I don't like to see this practice used on dogs or horses. Nothing more beautiful than a smooth sided horse with the beautiful shine that is on their coat. It is hard to shine with sharp angles of his skeleton and ribs showing. I think this horse is not far from being abused.

My eye only goes to this size horse because I am so worried about it. I would be worried about the animal having to use up so much energy being ridden when he needs food.

Even the race horses on the track are heavier than this horse.

I see the girls walking around that starve themselves wearing skinny jeans. Horses are not meant to be seen as such.

Please give this horse more feed to eat. He appears that he could be a beautiful animal.
 

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If he is three years old, I would say his shoulders will pop up to match his rump. He is not that much high, and I had to look harder to see the difference.

I like the look of your horse, as I love his long neck, and his color. Many horses have long backs and they can be wonderful to ride as they are so smooth. But just as with a short backed horse, just be sure that you use a really good fitting saddle and great pads. They can be ridden with no problems. Horses with short backs or long backs can have back problems.

It is harder to see him being so thin. He appears to have a short head, and I do love the angle of his shoulders and rump; all the way down to his pasterns.

I like how big he is, and he looks like he would be a very nice riding horse.
One of my favorite horses was a cribber as well. It was the first cribbing horse I ever owned. I thought that he had stopped being out on pasture all day long, and took off the strap after wearing it for years. I was so wrong. He was 6 years old when I decided that he had stopped cribbing. But, he had not.

I found him dead in the pasture where he colicked during the night. I was devastated to find him laying dead in the pasture and was so angry at myself for wanting to make his life better by not wearing the collar. It was a horrible loss to me. So, I just wanted to let you know, they still want to crib even if they are knee deep in lush grass. I don't want you to go through what I did.

If I were looking for a riding horse, and came up on him, I would definitely want to take him home as he has so much going for him. I really do love his size.
 

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I had to write one other thing. At his age and the stage he is growing, he doesn't have any reserves to grow upwards. He is getting enough feed to just get by. When I have a young horse, I want him to have the calories and nourishment to be able to grow. Not only does this horse not have fat, I believe he is missing muscle as well from his body going to muscle reserves to get by.

I want him to have the groceries to grow muscles, bone and remain healthy. He is still growing. Give him what he needs to be all he can be.
 

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He's a young, tall, lanky, growing horse. I had one like him except he was only 16.1 and for the first 6 years of his life he looked half starved no matter how much food you poured into him. Everything he ate went into growing up and it wasn't until he reached maturity that he started growing out a little. He was never overly fluffy. If I'd fed any of my other horses even half of what I fed him they'd have foundered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks everyone :)

I feel like a lot of people see rib and panic. My mare is about 100kg overweight (according to my vet) and she still shows half her ribcage sometimes, and a shadow of at least 2-3 ribs all the time. So with that in mind I'm aiming to build healthy topline and get Cayde looking sleek and healthy - and if his ribs end up covered, cool. If not, also cool. I will not make him fat in order to cover his ribs if he's another one like my mare, and well sprung ribs are very common in TBs.
 

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I agree with HLG & others who said he looks reasonably well covered. I personally wouldn't worry either way, perhaps he's a little light on, but not by much if he is - he's by no means wasting away, but it wouldn't hurt him to carry more either. I think your 'thin line' subject title is right - it can be a thin line, esp as he's a cribber, a 'growing lad' who, as we know, go thru 'weedy, gangly' phases.

Just feel the need to address a couple of your comments Rudy...

I do not want to see ribs showing or a neck that appears upside down from lack of groceries. He appears to be slowly starving.
Unfortunately, overweight horses(& dogs & cats & people...) seem to be an endemic thing, causing so many health & soundness probs, and so many people just don't seem to be able to see 'overweight' short of actual obesity(and even then...) these days - perhaps because it is just so common. I'm assuming Rudy, from your choice of words, that if you think the look of this horse says 'slowly starving' & 'not far from being abused' you might be one of the many who just don't recognise 'fat' or the probs it causes.

Also your comment about the 'upside down neck' - this is not in the least due only to lack of groceries, and considering he's OT(TB I gather Blue? Rudy you wanna see standies who come off the track after training with 'head checks' :-( ) and that he's a windsucker(tends to go with 'ewenecks') I'm guessing that lack of groceries is not the reason for this boy's neck, even if he were skinny before Blue got him(given he was ribby, looked similar shape despite winter coat, think he was indeed too thin but no where near desperately).

So... Back to Blue, I think he could probably stand to gain a fair bit before it would be a worry, healthwise, and nutritional balance & not over 'pumping' supps and protein into them seems to be the biggest 'OCD' worry, and I also think he should be about thru that particular 'excess' worry by 3yo(tho not sure of that point). But I don't see any burning need to put more weight on him either - he's far from skinny by any stretch.

Even the race horses on the track are heavier than this horse.
Yes, they're muscly, and this guy is obviously lacking muscle, which perhaps you're mistaking for 'general condition'.

I found him dead in the pasture where he colicked during the night. ... so angry at myself for wanting to make his life better by not wearing the collar.
Please know that you did not kill him by taking his collar off. Windsucking is an OCD... of the other kind to above mentioned. AKA a 'stereotypie'. You are correct that many horses will continue to do it even in 'ideal circumstances' apparently out of 'habit'. And it can be a health risk, if they do it to such an extent that they starve themselves or such, and it can damage incisors too. But windsucking and colic are both 'symptoms' - it's not the windsucking that causes colic, but gastric pain/ulcers etc that cause both these 'issues'. So, if he had not been treated those digestive tract 'ailments', &/or he was being fed unhealthily - for eg too much sugary grass, grain, large/infrequent rich meals, etc - that is what led to the colic.
 
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